Gardening tips from Tredegar House

Every year, our garden and outdoor team work behind the scenes to prepare the gardens and parkland for the changing seasons.

Spending time outdoors has never been more important, and you may be wondering how to make the most of nature at home - whether it’s in your garden, patio, balcony, or window boxes. Our expert team of gardeners are here to help!

Every year, our garden and outdoor team work behind the scenes to prepare the gardens and parkland for the changing seasons – to ensure nature can thrive all year round. 

As spring begins, they’ve gathered some of their top tips for the season, to help you care for plants and wildlife at home…

Flower beds 

Late winter to early spring is the perfect time for preparing your flower beds and boxes… 

Get mulching

Mulching your flower beds helps to retain moisture, supress weeds and encourage insect and worm activity which will help to aerate your soil and provide nutrients for improved root growth. You can mulch your flower beds by adding a 25 – 50 mm layer of compost, old leaves or wood chippings. If you usually dig your flower beds, you can add these materials to the soil as you go to create the same nourishing effect. 

Top tip: Even shredded paper and cardboard can be used for mulching materials. 

Make the most of old growth

Although you may be inclined to remove all old growth in your garden, some perennial plants, such as penstemon, benefit from the protection of old growth in frosty conditions. Wait until late spring before you cut back, to ensure new plants are protected. Be careful not to remove last year’s flowering wood, as your flowers will reappear here in the months ahead. 

Top tip: Do remove any old growth that has become damp and matted on the ground, to ensure new sprouts have space to push through.

Some perennial plants benefit from the protection of old growth in frosty conditions.
A frosty morning in the Orchard Garden
Some perennial plants benefit from the protection of old growth in frosty conditions.

Lawns

Mowing your lawn early will invigorate the grass for the coming season…

It's time for a trim 

Nearly all lawns will benefit from early topping cuts. Getting a first cut done on a dry day will prepare the grass for regular mowing. It will also allow your lawn to dry out earlier as the weather improves, ready for you to enjoy.

Top tip: An early cut will reduce the risk of your grass yellowing during regular mowing.

" The biggest thing to remember is the height of your cut. Fine leaf grasses such as fescues can tolerate tight mowing as low as 5 mm, whereas broad leaf grasses, such as rye grass, need a much higher cut at around 25mm. "
- Steve Morgan, Garden and Outdoor Manager at Tredegar House

Wildlife

Whether you’re planting in flower beds or window boxes, you can create a haven for wildlife… 

Go wild

If you have space, rewilding parts of your garden can help to create natural habitats. Do this by allowing your grass to grow long, planting hedgerows to create ‘wildlife corridors’ and taking a more relaxed approach to weeding to encourage plant diversity. 

Top tip: Allowing an area of your lawn to grow will encourage nectar-rich plants such as clover, which are excellent for pollinators. 

Bee insect friendly 

When you’re buying seeds, check to see if they’re bee and butterfly friendly. Plants such as geranium, buddleia or lavender are great for attracting pollinators which are an integral part of our ecosystem. Why not have a go at creating your own bug hotel too?

Top tip: Moss, sticks and stones are just some of the materials you can use to make a bug hotel. You can also use empty toilet rolls and egg boxes.

Moss, sticks and stones are just some of the materials you can use to make a bug hotel.
Moss, sticks and stones are just some of the materials you can use to make a bug hotel.
Moss, sticks and stones are just some of the materials you can use to make a bug hotel.

Growing fruit and vegetables 

There are few things more satisfying than growing your own fruit and vegetables…

You don't need a vegetable patch 

Many vegetables can be grown in window boxes and plant pots, as well as in traditional patches. Radishes and lettuce are some of the best plants for smaller containers, as they don’t require much soil. If you have deeper plant pots, why not experiment with deeper rooted veg such as potatoes and carrots? 

Top tip: Radishes and lettuce can be planted every three to four weeks for a successional cropping period.

Get digging

If you have a traditional vegetable patch, make sure you’ve opened your bean trenches. You can do this by digging trenches the depth of a spade and the width of two. This can be done earlier in winter, however if you’re doing this now it’s best to add a layer of organic compost ready for planting later in the season. 

Top tip: When sowing seeds, a general rule of thumb is to plant them twice as deep as the size of the seed itself.

Radishes and lettuce are some of the best plants for smaller containers.
Radishes and lettuce are some of the best plants for smaller containers.
Radishes and lettuce are some of the best plants for smaller containers.